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What Does Zoom Mean When Talking About Photography?

In Photography to zoom is to make the subject of a photograph appear closer than its actual distance (or subject distance) from the focal plane of a camera. Zooming is achieved either optically, using an arrangement of lenses to manipulate the light entering the camera, thus making the subject appear closer, or digitally by cropping an image to make the subject appear closer than it really is. In nearly all situations optical zoom is preferable to digital zoom as the latter will result in a reduction in the resolution of the image captured, and if used too heavily will cause an image to appear pixilated.